No, the US isn't more dangerous than a war zone

Guillermo Arias

Many people, myself included, will use the term “war zone” to describe a particularly dangerous part of the nation. Chicago, for example, has been described as such. Same with Baltimore, New York, and pretty much any other city experiencing a high degree of violent crime at some point or another.

However, an op-ed writer decided to argue that the United States is about as dangerous, as a whole, as an actual war zone.

There’s something wrong in America: we’ve come to accept as unavoidable a staggering number of gun deaths annually.

State legislatures, either stymied by the thought of judicial review or fearful of political fallout, are doing nothing, and Republican dominated legislatures promote gun proliferation. Ohio’s General Assembly wants to do away with permits for concealed carry.

Ponder this: in the last two decades 15,000 military members and civilian contractors died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, not that much higher than the number of gun homicides here in 2020 alone.

Did the framers intend that life in the United States should be more dangerous than serving in a war zone?

Except, it’s not.

See, this is a prime example of misusing statistics to try and “prove” a point.

Now, the total number of deaths the author ascribes is pretty accurate. What he fails to note, however, is the relative risk to individuals based on a ratio of people to fatalities.

There are roughly 330 million Americans–a number that covers the total number of people who could have been potential victims of “gun homicide” here in the US.

In 2019, the Washington Post noted that 775,000 troops had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at least once. About half served more than one tour and that only includes numbers up to 2018, but it gives us an idea of the scale we’re talking about here.

Even if we decided to double that number to 1.55 million, we’re still looking at less than one percent of the total American population, yet the number of combat deaths was still higher as a total number than “gun homicides” stateside.

In other words, there’s a much higher chance of being killed in a war zone than it is on the streets of any American community.

And that shouldn’t be the least bit surprising. I mean, we’re talking about war zones here. They should be considered more dangerous.

However, the author here is trying to misuse the statistics in order to scare people into capitulating with his desire to see gun control passed in Ohio and elsewhere.

Oh, I could be charitable and think that maybe he just didn’t think of the scale, but the author is an attorney. They’re taught to be careful with evidence and data. He might have been careless in this case, but I’m not feeling that charitable.

See, the author is just one of a number of examples of people trying to misuse statistics to try and scare people into supporting gun control. Their fearmongering typically involves not giving context for their claims so that the raw numbers sound horrifying.

Like saying the United States is more dangerous than a war zone.

Of course, I could also point out to our lawyer “friend” here that even if that were true, it would still undermine his argument. After all, in a war zone, everyone is required to be armed all the time. You don’t even go to the bathroom without a weapon, yet he’s trying to argue that’s safer than the streets of America?

Now, to be fair, war zones have a lot going on and they’re bad examples regarding gun control one way or another.

However, I’m also not the one who brought them up in the first place.

Frankly, if you want to hinge your argument on such a stupid statement, I don’t see any reason to take anything else you have to say about gun rights, gun control, or guns in general seriously.